Visiting Abu Dhabi, one of the seven Emirates and the capital of UAE is opulence at its best. They discovered oil in 1968 but were not able to maintain its wealth due to bad business deals with foreigners. However, it did not take long before they realized what needed to be done. They set out to educate their people and create working relationships all the while keeping the wealth and flow of money in Abu Dhabi.
Our first stop is the Sheik Mohammed Mosque. A beautiful white mosque that has been nick named the White Pearl of the East. Barring the age of the Taj Mahal this is the most impressive mosque I’ve ever seen. Marble from around the world, inlaid gems, gold plating, 82 domes, 4 minarets and at a running cost of two billion Durhams beauty at its best. All women are required to change into abayas, the long black dress and scarf fo covering your head, to enter the mosque. This is part of the experience.
We then proceeded to the Emirates Palace Hotel, a Kempinski property. Built to look like the royal palace this is an exclusive hotel. Celebrities, dignitaries and world leaders stay here. We toured the property and gtook pictures of the famous Gold vending machine. By the way this hotel is also known for that 11 million dollar Christmas tree with gold and precious gems for ornaments. We had a fabulous buffet lunch here at the Le Vendome restaurant. We all indulged ourselves with this lavish buffet.
Afterwards and on our way back to Dubai we made a quick stop at Ferrari World. We did not enter the amusement park itself but we were able to get a glimpse of the fastest rollercoaster and purchase some souvineirs.
In Dubai the next day we had tea at the Burj Al Arab. The only 7 star hotel in the world. The one that looks like a sailboat, has the helipad where Andre Agassi & Pete Sampras played tennis, tiger woods hit a few golf balls and of course where the guests land via helicopter. The tea service was a two hour service that includes one glass of champagne, any soft drinks, tea, coffee, finger sandwiches, pastries, scones and cookies. The passion fruit iced tea is awesome, afterall it’s prepared at the world famous bar at the Burj Al Arab that created the 10 thousand dollar cocktail.
Both properties are off limits unless you are a guest or have business there. So unless you have a hotel, lunch or dinner reservation you’re not able to visit either property.
A trip would not be complete without visiting at least one of them and at least pretending to be among the rich and/or famous.
Tonight, our last night, some of us are going to the Usher concert. I know….Only In Dubai!